WHERE IS IT ?
The German army memorial complex is located at the very entrance of Košutnjak park, between the Ruđer Bošković private school and Kneza Višeslava street.
The complex of the German Military Cemetery is located at the entrance to Košutnjak, at the site where battles were fought for the conquest of Belgrade during World War I.
The cemetery was established in 1915 during a joint Austro-Hungarian and German offensive. It was chosen as a military cemetery by Field Marshal August von Mackensen. The monolithic monument around which the cemetery is built is dedicated to the 208th Prussian Infantry Regiment.
The cemetery was maintained during the interwar period and was used again during World War II, where members of the SS units were buried. After World War II, the cemetery suffered damage due to political reprisals against members of the occupying forces. Marble tombstones were destroyed, and concrete monuments from World War I were partially preserved. What remains of the cemetery was partially restored in 1985.
MONUMENT TO SERBIAN SOLDIERS
Within this memorial complex, there is also a monument to the Serbian defenders of Belgrade. The soldiers of the 208th Prussian Infantry Regiment fought a grueling two-day battle against the defenders of Belgrade, consisting of 36 members of the Serbian army, two Britons, and one Frenchman.
During World War I, in some cases, common graves were established for both German and Allied soldiers. This practice was part of an effort to preserve the memory of all sides in the First World War and to pay respect to all soldiers who gave their lives in the war. These cemeteries were often marked to clearly indicate that enemy soldiers were buried there.
Field Marshal August von Mackensen erected a monument within the German cemetery dedicated to Serbian soldiers with a bilingual inscription that reads: "Here lie Serbian heroes." This gesture of respect can be interpreted in various ways. It could have been an expression of respect for the bravery and military skill of the opponents in the battle for Belgrade, or perhaps it was part of military propaganda to highlight German military power and victory. Regardless of the motives, such gestures were relatively unusual during the war, and the monument remains a significant historical point that testifies to the events of that period.
Written and translated by Igor Mijović